West Ham defender, Angelo Ogbonna, has slammed the Premier League for the way they have handled the coronavirus crisis.
The English top-flight games were only put to a halt on Friday, despite the pandemic which has claimed over 3000 lives across the globe.
On Thursday, Premier League teams reported their first cases of the virus which prompted the FA and clubs to call for an emergency meeting where they agreed to halt the season until the first weekend of April at the earliest.
But having seen the drastic effect the virus has had in his homeland over the last few weeks, the Italian centre back was stunned by the lack of swift response from the English authorities.
“I am happy and relieved that everything has now been suspended, including the minor leagues. It was almost as if they wanted to ignore such a serious problem,” the 31-year-old told ‘Corriere Della Sera’ newspaper.
“It’s not just football, but this problem is ingrained in the English mentality. They still don’t realise the danger of a virus that can be passed on in seconds if you don’t behave in the right way.”
West Ham played against Arsenal last weekend, despite confirmations that Olympiacos president who visited the Emirates for their Europa League tie had tested positive.
The decision to let the game go on was frowned at by the Italy international.
“It’s completely unacceptable that the Arsenal game against us was allowed to go ahead. They had just played against Olympiacos, whose president tested positive for coronavirus,” he added.
“It’s almost as if they were waiting for someone to die before taking action.”
“I haven’t been tested or checked over in any way. That is another testament to an attitude that is at the very least superficial.”
Initially, games were postponed or being played behind closed doors in Italy, a move Italy’s minister of sport, Vincenzo sport has admitted he regrets.
“Football is a world in itself: there was a time when the Lega Serie A didn’t want to take responsibility as it should have done,” he told Radio 1.
“We did it as a government to protect interests. Now there is no longer any controversy because some of the players have the virus.
“We would have preferred to have stopped the league sooner, but better late than never.
“Many teams today are giving donations for the emergency and we are happy, they are gestures of solidarity that we appreciate.
“Now we can stop with the controversy because the world of sport must lead by example.”